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Left hamstring injury forces Clemens out until playoffs

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Roger Clemens was scratched from his
start for the New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Tampa Bay
because of a lingering left hamstring injury and won't pitch for
the remainder of the regular season.

The announcement was made about four hours before game time. The
team said Clemens will not pitch in the three-game series with the
Devil Rays that runs through Thursday, but could throw in a
simulated game.

Clemens is "confident" he will be ready for the opening round
of the postseason if the Yankees qualify. New York lost to the Devil Rays 7-6 in 10 innings on Tuesday to see its magic number to clinch at least the AL
wild-card spot remain at one.

"I fully expect to be out there," Clemens said. "I still
think it's improving. A little swelling, but I ran quite a bit in
the deep end of a pool to try and get that motion going. They're
really going to try and just let it rest."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Clemens could have
pitched Tuesday if it had been a must-win game.

"We're just playing it smart," Cashman said. "We're looking
at the big picture, and giving it more time to heal. The point is
he'll be better off with more time, and we'll go from there."

Kei Igawa was picked to replace Clemens for Tuesday night'
start.

Clemens tweaked his hamstring while running Thursday. He has
pitched just once since Sept. 3, sidelined at first by a tender
right elbow that required two cortisone shots. The 45-year-old
right-hander pitched six innings at Boston on Sept. 16, allowing an
unearned run and two hits.

"He feels it just a little bit," Yankees manager Joe Tore
said. "It's not too bad. It's more of doing everything he needs to
do to pitch a game more than the pitching aspect of it. The
running, covering first and doing all that stuff. He's still
throwing, doing drills. It's feeling better, but I think the
frustration comes from the fact that it's not feeling as good as he
needs it to. Hopefully it continues to get better."

Torre said it's not necessary for Clemens to pitch in a game
before the regular season ends, but that it probably would be
important to at least see him in a simulated contest.

"If it goes backwards at all, then an October date, I would be
in trouble for that," Clemens said. "I'll do enough to stay sharp
until we really know what's going on as far as the playoff picture
is decided."

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in
17 starts and one relief appearances this season.